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Saturday, December 22, 2012

Review: Home Alone series

I'm watching a lot of Christmas movies this time of year, which means it's time for another Christmas movie review. The Home Alone series consists of four films, of which only the first two have a direct continuity. The third one is completely independent from the others, and the fourth attempts to connect to the first two films, but has a completely new cast.

The first film, Home Alone, depicts the McAllister family as they rush off to spend their Christmas vacation in Paris, only to accidentally leave the youngest, Kevin McAllister at home alone. Kevin makes the most of his new freedom, and learns how to overcome fear and struggles to defend his house against a duo of burglars, Harry and Marv.

The first movie is a classic for a reason. The plot is clever and cute, with lots of good gags. Even when it's not Christmastime, this movie is one of my favorite comedies. My favorite gag in this movie is when Kevin uses a gangster movie on his television set to scare off Marv. The acting and music are also good.

RATING: 10/10


The second movie, Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, is mainly a rehash of the first film, only on a bigger scale. Bigger setting, bigger cast, and more elaborate pratfalls. Many plot points and scenes are copied from the first film, as is some of the dialogue. Examples include the opening scenes, Kevin befriending a lonely outcast, the business with the remote control and television, and Kevin's "I don't think so" line. The film is fine enough in it's own right, but in the context of the previous film, it just seems like a tired copy. My favorite gag in this film was the scene where Harry and Marv are standing at a door which opens to a flight of stairs, listening to a tool chest falling down the stares towards them. It then slams into them. I'll be honest, many Kevin's booby traps are downright lethal. He rigs up this sink to an arc welder, electrocuting Marv. He drops a big pipe on top of Harry and Marv. It's just sadistic at times.

RATING: 8/10


The third film, titled Home Alone 3, has a completely new cast and characters, and has one Alex Pruitt taking on a team of international criminals, who have lost this stolen computer chip and have tracked it to his neighborhood. Home alone with the chickenpox, Alex is forced to take matters into his own hands when the police won't believe his reports of burglars in his neighbors houses.

This film recycles a lot of plot points from the previous two films, but uses them more creatively. For instance, the neighbor that Alex befriends originally doesn't have a very high opinion of him, rather than just being an anonymous friendly outcast, but by the end of the film is his friend. I didn't have a particularly favorite gag in this film, but I kind of liked the one where two of the robbers are trying to get in the front door, when they accidentally trigger a trap which sends a huge trunk full of books landing on top of them.

RATING: 8/10


The fourth film, Home Alone 4, also known as Home Alone: Taking Back the House, is my least favorite of these. It has a completely new cast, but takes a lot of names from the first two movies. It involves Kevin spending Christmas with his dad and his dad's girlfriend in their smart house, and Marv (now played by French Stewart) and his wife plan on breaking into the house to kidnap a prince (yeah, really) who will be staying with them.

This film... oh my goodness, where do I even start? The plot is ridiculous, the pratfalls are absurdly exaggerated, none of the gags are all that funny, and the characterization is poorly done. I honestly contemplated not reviewing this movie, as it barely registers in the Home Alone cannon, and is little more than a curio. Don't see this, trust me, you're just wasting your time.

RATING: 5/10

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